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Do More With Less

I have been working as an advertising account executive for over 17 years, and over that time a lot has changed. Marketing budgets have shrunk, while both the availability of advertising options for marketers and performance expectations for each marketing campaign from upper management have grown.

So what’s a marketer to do? Here are a few tips to consider:

Stick with those advertising options that have worked best for you in the past, and identify those marketing efforts that have not gone as well. The reason that it’s so important  to identify those advertising efforts that did not go well is that it should motivate you to do one of two things: either change the design and messaging in the creative and give that media option another try, or use the money that is being spent on the unproductive form of advertising and apply those precious marketing dollars to a new media ad option.

Be clear on your campaign focus. What’s the purpose of your ad? Are you looking to build your brand awareness? Are you looking to educate the marketplace to features and benefits of your product that offer something new? Are you looking for direct response and sales?

Think integrated. With so many different types of advertising vehicles available, marketing campaigns that produce the greatest results tend to have more “points of connection” to the targeted audiences they want to reach: Google ad words, banners, eBlasts, print, mobile, social media, newsletters, etc.

Go slow. It is understandable that marketers get excited about their products and services, but try to temper this enthusiasm with a deliberate marketing campaign that is ever-improving and that builds on finding those areas of success (media outlet, design message, product offer, etc.).

Test and measure. Whenever possible, look to test different versions of your ad, evaluating which type of media works best  and then measuring the performance of which design/message does best. But keep in mind that success in some types of advertising, such as print ads, can be hard to quantify. It does not mean these types of ads have no value. They just need to be considered in a different way. Who scores touchdowns on a football team? Most often, it is going to be a wide receiver, or a running back, or occasionally a quarterback. So does that mean that a football team should get rid of the offensive lineman because they don’t directly produce any touchdowns? Of course not, that would be foolish. The offensive lineman provide time for the quarterback and the offensive coach to run their various offensive plays. They contribute in an important, indirect way. Print ads can offer that same kind of indirect marketing campaign foundation to help make your digital direct response ads pay off. Think team (integrated media campaign) when it comes to your marketing plans.

Work with a rep and a media company you trust. Build on long-term relationships where you can walk with trusted partners through the changing advertising landscape

Walter is a veteran sales manager with a knack for finding win-win solutions.

Posted in Advertising Tips


Advertise for Long-Term Effectiveness

When gauging the effectiveness of a campaign, most advertisers are concerned about the numbers. Results are crucial to demonstrating the effectiveness of an ad campaign. However, my more experienced marketers know the importance of a long-term campaign rather than a one-time, or one-month, campaign.

“It’s critical for marketers to understand how advertising affects brand value over time, as well as how it’s connected to brand loyalty,” said a recent Nielsen report. “Most advertising models show that loyalty is the largest driver of brand choice. The data from a recent study by Nielsen Catalina Solutions (NCS) makes it clear that the higher the loyalty, the higher the future brand sales will be.”

Advertising that builds strong consumer connections typically drive sales long-term, but also drives brand loyalty and total brand value. By connecting with the Christianity Today ministry for your advertising, you are reaching highly-educated, faith-centered, influential decision-makers, from pastors and church leaders to lay people within the church. We help to create a niche audience that is responsive and engaged over the long-term. Because our audience is loyal to our publications, our stats are typically better than the industry standard. We represent a trusted voice in this world.

Explore the advertising possibilities Christianity Today has to offer and talk with your Account Executive today to help you craft a long-term advertising plan and start seeing the benefits of advertising with a Christ-centered ministry and connecting with like-minded Christians.

Posted in Advertising Tips, Online Advertising, Print Advertising


6 Tips to Make Your Ads Stand Out

Every day, consumers get bombarded by messaging from advertisers. So how do your company’s ads stand out from all the others vying for the public’s attention?

Here are a few advertising tips that should help make your advertising investment more effective:

  • Create an attractive-looking ad. The goal is capture the attention of a potential customer. To do so, limit the amount of words in your ad (keep it simple), have an appealing image, present a headline that draws people in, and direct them to a clear and simple call to action.
  • Be intentional in your design. What do you hope to accomplish with your ad? Is it to communicate your brand, to generate interest, or to educate? Is it to generate sales, and if so, how will that happen? What do you want the person looking at your ad to do? Don’t try to do too much—aim to execute one strategy at a time.
  • Create a sense of need. Why should anyone respond to your ad? What’s in it for them? What solution(s) does your product offer?
  • Don’t communicate too much. It is understandable that you are passionate about your products and you want everyone to know every feature and benefit your product offers. But if you try to include too much, people will just move on from your ad, not wanting to read all you have to say.
  • Keep the message simple. “Your advertising should offer one specific benefit that the customer will enjoy by calling you, by coming into your place of business, or by using your  product or service. A seven-year-old child should be able to look at your advertisement and explain to another seven-year-old exactly what you are offering and why it is attractive to a prospective customer. If your advertisement does not pass the “seven-year-old test,” revise it and rewrite it until it does.” (excerpt from Brian Tracy’s The Way to Wealth, pg. 232)
  • Plan your marketing efforts with a multi-stage strategy.  Campaigns have 34 percent greater effectiveness when they combine both digital and print advertising. Connect with your target audience using several different media platforms. Your customers receive their information from several sources; the more places they see your company’s products, the more open they will be to them.

Walter is a veteran sales manager with a knack for finding win-win solutions.

Posted in Advertising Tips, Online Advertising, Print Advertising


The Print Comeback Continues

Department-store operator J. C. Penney recently announced it would be reviving its print catalog, which it stopped printing in 2010, because data showed that it drove people to shop more online. According to the article, when Penney’s closed the print catalog, they thought that their audience would just switch to online shopping. What they discovered, however, is that the print catalog had led to more online sales. Since I have always been a believer in print, this news brought a smile to my face.

The article connects this decision to a larger trend toward the comeback of print: “In Joe Pulizzi’s thought-provoking 2012 blog post on the 7 reasons to rethink print he quotes a niche publisher who told him—’The web is where we go to get answers but print is where we go to ask questions.’ Joe states that print is still the best medium on the planet for thinking outside the box and asking yourself tough questions based on what you read—it’s a ‘lean back’ versus ‘lean forward’ experience for the reader.”

Of course, we know that many advertisers have limited funds for their various campaigns; however, the information above suggests that this may be the perfect time to reevaluate your options and reconsider the branding capabilities that print magazines can offer. At Christianity Today we work with our clients to offer the best possible overall pricing available for our publications. With over 600,000 subscribers to our print publications, I encourage you to reconsider adding print options to your campaign.

Peggy Gomez is a service-minded account executive with a great sense of humor.

Posted in Advertising Tips, Print Advertising


The Power of a Print Ad

The job of a marketer is tough. Marketing budgets seem to decline year after year, while expectations continue to increase. As many marketers gravitate toward online ad opportunities because of their immediate return on investment, let me encourage you to consider a broader perspective.

At Christianity Today, we strongly support using online advertising options as a fundamental part of your marketing strategy. Connecting to targeted audiences through banners, eBlasts, roadblock newsletters, mobile banners, and iPad visibility should all contribute to effective ad campaigns.

But don’t forget another vital marketing option: print advertising. Although you may not be able to track its effectiveness as accurately, and you might not always see an instant payback, the benefits of print advertising (from a short- and long-term perspective) are worth holding on to. There is  significant value in keeping your name before targeted audiences. Your customers may or may not be ready to buy your product or service immediately, but strengthening your brand will be a plus as your customers make their purchasing decisions now and in the future.

By advertising in print magazines like Christianity Today, Leadership Journal, and Books & Culture, you can put your company’s name and products/services before the eyes of some of the largest and most respected publications in the Christian market. The visibility of print advertising also offers your ad repeated exposure as readers pick up a single magazine several times. Successful magazines like Christianity Today, Leadership Journal, and Books & Culture also tend to get passed around to other readers, further increasing the number of times an ad is seen.

Should marketers today advertise with banner ads, eBlasts, and newsletter advertising? Definitely. But print advertising should also be a vital component of a strategic marketing plan.

Walter is a veteran sales manager with a knack for finding win-win solutions.

Posted in Advertising Tips, Print Advertising